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Crest Nicholson in red after write-off on London sites

The housebuilder will only buy renewably-generated electricity from 2025

Crest Nicholson -

Crest Nicholson PLC (LON:CRST)  posted a loss for 2020 after one-off charges but confirmed it will resume dividend payments in the current year as housing demand has bounced back.

The housebuilder saw revenues drop to £678mln (£1.09bn) over the year to end December 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in March.

 Underlying profits fell to £45.9mln (2019: £121.1mln), which was above the top end of company guidance, but after a land impairment charge of £43.2mln, predominately for legacy sites in London and other one-offs, the FTSE 250 group posted a loss of £13.5mln (2019: £102.7mln profit).

Crest noted that the current year had started with a strong forward order book and enhanced balance sheet but gross profit margins will be affected by some of the complex legacy sites and the need to complete these.

“Despite the current lockdown restrictions, we are continuing to trade in line with our expectations,” the builder said in a statement, adding that it still expects to deliver strong profit growth and cash flow generation over the year.

The dividend will also be restored at a rate of 2.5 times earnings cover from the first half of 2021.

Crest Nicholson said it is introducing new sustainability targets that will mean it only buy renewably-generated electricity from 2025 with carbon emissions to be reduced by 25%.

Forward sales as of January 15, 2021, were 2,435 units with a value of £564.5mln. Net cash at the year-end was £142mln.

Quick facts: Crest Nicholson

Price: 374 GBX

LSE:CRST
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £960.88 m
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